The Impact of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection: A Prospective Study in Hospitalized Infants Younger than 2 Years
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Background: We analyzed the influence of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) on the clinical course and management of infants hospitalized due to viral upper and lower respiratory tract infections (U/LRTI).
Patients and Methods: Infants younger than 2 years were prospectively tested for RSV infection by antigen detection in nasopharyngeal aspirates between November 1999 and October 2000.
Results: Of 281 infants hospitalized during the study period, 58 (21%) tested RSV positive. Seasonal distribution of RSV infections showed a peak in March (45% of all U/LRTI). Infants with RSV infection (12% were preterm, 5% had congenital heart disease) were younger (p < 0.001), had more severe U/LRTI (p < 0.001), longer hospitalizations (p < 0.001), more days with oxygen requirement (p < 0.001) and respiratory support (p = 0016) and more frequent requirements for bronchoditators (p = 0.002) and corticosteroids (p = 0.02).
Conclusion: RSV contributed to prolonged hospitalizations and more severe clinical courses of disease both in very young term and preterm infants.
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